NEW YORK (FOX 5 NEWS) - Mayor Bill de Blasio outlined a new outreach plan to tackle the looming homeless crisis. The program is called Homeless Outreach and Mobile Engagement Street Action Teams, or HOME-STAT. 137 full time outreach workers have been added to the existing ranks to bring the number to 300.
They are taking the one on one personal approach to each individual homeless person that Fox 5 aired in an exclusive report in November. The plan is already underway but will be fully operational by March.
The mayor says if you call 311 to report seeing a homeless person, there will be a response within an hour. It's an alternative to police enforcement, which is tricky because of a Supreme Court ruling that says people have a right to be on the streets. Still, Commissioner Bill Bratton is not giving up.
The Department of Homeless Services is also being reorganized. The mayor says he wants a centralized command so that every person can be accounted for. This comes a month before the official federal count of street homeless that is taken in January.